Butch McAdams admits he never envisioned coaching a girls basketball team. His deliberate, patient offense and tough defense enabled him to enjoy successful stints at both Maret and Mackin in the early 1980s. After leaving Mackin, McAdams returned to teach at Maret, but wasn't interested in coaching.

"I was fine," McAdams said. "My best friend, Charles Lewis, was doing a good job with the boys team and I was happy for him. I didn't help Lewis because I wouldn't be a good assistant. Then {athletic director} Nick {Markoff} came to me and conned me into taking over the girls team. I felt I would coach again one day, but not a girls team."

McAdams had to adjust to the 30-second clock and rebuild a team almost from scratch.

"I didn't like that clock," he said. "In my offense, we would pass 30 times before we took a shot. With girls, it takes about 10 seconds to get the ball upcourt and that doesn't give you much time to get into your offense.

"But I'm getting used to it. I'll tell you this, there's no pressure on coaching girls. I'm teaching again and I'm thoroughly enjoying coaching the girls. It's a lot of fun."

The team has already shown marked improvement from a year ago. It got off to its best start in years, winning seven of its first nine games. The team is built around 5-foot-9 senior Julie Fuchs, an All-Met softball and soccer player, 5-8 junior Jennie Cornell and 5-11 junior Geoya Stringer.

"I told the girls we would be a good team when we could accomplish three things: come from behind to win a game {Maret rallied from a 16-2 deficit to beat Stone Ridge, 31-30}, win on the road {Maret beat Mercersburg (Pa.), 39-29) and execute both offensive and defensively {Maret did that in winning five straight games}," McAdams said. "We've done all three. We have had success with soccer and softball, but the basketball team hasn't won much. I want the girls to win some games, but it is important they are having fun. So am I."

Springbrook, which came within a basket of advancing to the Maryland State Class AA boys basketboy final last season, has set its sights on another playoff berth despite the loss of three starters from that team.

Going into this week, the No. 12 Blue Devils were 11-1 and held a two-game lead in the Montgomery AA league.

Darryl Asson, a 6-2 guard, and 6-4 Anthony Jennings have played well, as has 6-4 senior Shawn Clifton, a transfer from Blair. Coach John Barrett's teams are always strong defensively (allowing 55 points per game) and have yielded 56 points or more only three times -- all wins. The Devils' lone loss was to St. John's, 45-38, in a holiday tournament last month.

Offensively, Jennings, Asson and Clifton have made the key plays in helping the team average more than 68 points per game.

The Lady Blue Devils, also a playoff team last year, have had a harder road to travel than the boys' team.

Coach Bill Wiley had to rebuild at key positions after last year's 13-9 finish. The girls' got off to a 4-0 start before inexperience caught up with them in the IAABO tournament, where they lost two of three games.

Regrouping, the Lady Devils have won four of their last five, including a 42-41 upset over then unbeaten and defending state champion Rockville. Springbrook is now 9-3 overall.